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Broadcasting Buildings

Un libro in lingua di Shundana Yusaf edito da Mit Pr, 2014

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In the years between the world wars, millions of people heard the world through a boxon the dresser. In Britain, radio listeners relied on the British Broadcasting Corporation forinformation on everything from interior decoration to Hitler's rise to power. One subject coveredregularly on the wireless was architecture and the built environment. Between 1927 and 1945, the BBCaired more than six hundred programs on this topic, published a similar number of articles in itsmagazine, The Listener, and sponsored several traveling exhibitions. In thisbook, Shundana Yusaf examines the ways that broadcasting placed architecture at the heart of debateson democracy. Undaunted by the challenge of talking about space and place in disembodied voices overa nonvisual medium, designers and critics turned the wireless into an arena for debates about thedefinitions of the architect and architecture, the difficulties of town and country planning afterthe breakup of large country estates, the financing of the luxury market, the expansion of localgoverning power, and tourism. Yusaf argues that while broadcast technology made a decisive breakwith the Victorian world, these broadcasts reflected the BBC's desire to continue the legacy ofVictorian institutions dedicated to the production of a cultivated polity. Under the leadership ofJohn Reith, the BBC introduced listeners to the higher pleasures of life hoping to deepen theirrespect for tradition, the authority of the state, and national interests. These ambitionsinfluenced the way architecture was portrayed on the air. Yusaf finds that the wireless evokedhistoric architecture only in travelogues and contemporary design mainly in shopping advice. TheBBC's architectural programming, she argues, offered a paradoxical interface between theplacelessness of radio and the situatedness of architecture, between the mechanical or nonhumanisticimpulses of technology and the humanist conception of architecture.

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